Changing social care: an inclusive approach
Workforce involvement and participation - Work with resistance
- Resistance can be helpful in the process of change and improvement.
- It can be used and handled in the following ways:
- to give people who disagree a platform to air their views
- as a useful process to identify potential barriers and key flaws in improvement initiatives
- as part of the process of giving people time and support to come on board
- as an opportunity to discourage inappropriate behaviour – for example, making no attempt to become involved in the changes, or offering no reason for dissent (SCIE Knowledge review 16).
- Be clear that resisting the underlying purpose of the organisation is not acceptable.
Sometimes changes have been bought about because people who are often seen as “difficult” have astute ways of looking at things...They know the barriers that you’ll have, so you can use that to learn what the barriers are likely to be and then see how you can get round them...Give people a platform to air their views. You might not agree with them but it’s important to hear them’(director, Age Concern Sheffield). (Age Concern Sheffield)
How we know this
- Resistors usually have a valid message, which should be heard (Fauth and Mahdon 2007).
- Resistance is a natural response to large-scale change. Possible reasons for resistance include:
- personal disposition (Watters et al. 2004)
- fear of the unknown (Trader-Leigh 2002; Watters et al. 2004; Woodward and Hendry 2004)
- fear of loss of status or job insecurity (Trader-Leigh 2002; Watters et al. 2004; Woodward and Hendry 2004)
- disruption of routines or relationships (Goltz and Hietapelto 2002; Trader-Leigh 2002; Woodward and Hendry 2004)
- poor timing of change (Watters et al., 2004)
- reward systems that do not reinforce adoption (Goltz and Hietapelto 2002; Woodward and Hendry 2004).
- Individuals need to believe in the change and have their anxieties addressed before their resistance will dissipate (Piderit 2000).
- Resistance can be minimised in a number of ways, including:
- being clear up front how responsibilities will change
- assigning new targets and linking rewards to them
- identifying whether changes will affect resource allocation
- redistributing power without reducing control over consequences in the organisation
- bearing in mind keepers of indirect power – those with networks and resources to most effectively implement change
- choosing change agents (or champions) with the potential to effectively influence behaviour (Goltz and Hietapelto 2002)./li>